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The future is fungi: Transforming agriculture and climate change

This inspiring Australian success story originates in
New South Wales, where Loam Bio began its mission
to address climate change.
Through years of dedicated research and farm trials,
its novel approach leverages microorganisms in grain
production systems, delivering increased soil carbon
benefits to growers and the environment.
At the forefront of Loam Bio’s Science and Innovation
department is Abed Chaudhury. Leading a team of
microbiologists and soil researchers, Abed focuses
on understanding the intricate interactions within
microbial populations and deciding on the right cohort
of species to reduce greenhouse gas contribution.
Abed and his team delve into the microbial diversity
of soil, a complex ecosystem comprising millions
of microorganisms. Through advanced genomic
techniques, they are uncovering new frontiers
of scientifc understanding of these microbial
communities and their interrelationships.
Abed explains the team’s vision: “Our aim is to utilise
microorganisms, especially fungi, to capture carbon
from the atmosphere and return it to the soil.”
Connecting with AGRF very early on, Abed has been
engaging Next Generation Sequencing microbial
profiling techniques and metagenomics to sequence
fungi in Australia to understand the functions and
behaviour of these organisms. “We use the short read
data alongside powerful bioinformatics to give us a
deep understanding of the subject matter and make
sense of it all,” he says. Abed values the “efficient and
proactive” interaction with AGRF and explains that it
has been the straightforward engagement and high
quality genomic sequencing from AGRF that has made
progress possible.
The microbial products being researched by
Loam Bio centre on the soil sequestration of carbon
in soil. Seed coating involves applying external
materials to the natural seed coat to modify the
physical properties for specific purposes.1 A farmer
treats their crop seeds with a microbial inoculum
prior to sowing and, through a beneficial relationship
between plant and fungus, the plant is able to draw in
atmospheric carbon and store it in a very stable form

under the soil. This holds huge potential for mitigating
greenhouse gases on a global scale but also
promotes a healthier food system and regeneration
of soil. Mick Wettenhall, Co-founder of Loam Bio,
emphasises the significance of reliably influencing this
process to realise the full gains in the industry.2
In the animal-agriculture sector, Abed has discovered
that fungi possess mechanisms facilitating reduced
methane emissions from ruminant livestock by
inhibiting methane-producing bacteria. This opens
the door for transforming the sector by targeting and
controlling this metric reliably.
Loam Bio is adding great value to our planet’s needs
and is dedicating its efforts towards developing
technologies that reduce greenhouse gases,
transforming an environmental challenge into an
opportunity for farmers and the broader community.
With an expanding presence in the US and Canada,
Loam Bio is committed to fostering healthier food
systems and regenerating soils on a global scale to
create a better and more sustainable world.

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